Oregon's Justin Gallegos becomes first Nike pro athlete with cerebral palsy

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports
Nike surprised Justin Gallegos with the contract at the end of a race. (Screenshot, YouTube)
Nike surprised Justin Gallegos with the contract at the end of a race. (Screenshot, YouTube)

Justin Gallegos was under the impression the cameras were there for his race. They were actually there for the historic moments after it.

Gallegos, a junior at the University of Oregon and member of the school’s running club, became the first professional athlete with cerebral palsy to sign a contract with Nike. A video crew and Nike’s Insight’s Director, John Douglass, met Gallegos at the end of a recent race where Douglass made the announcement.

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The film company Elevation Om edited the following video that Gallegos used to break the news Oct. 6, which is cerebral palsy awareness day.

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects movement, motor skills and muscle tone. Gallegos wrote in his Instagram post that he was “once a kid in leg braces who could barely put one foot in front of the other” and that the thought of becoming a professional athlete with a disability is like the “thought of climbing Mt. Everest.”

The moment was one of the most emotional ones in his seven years of running.

View this post on Instagram


Today on world Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day, I reached a milestone in my running journey! Today I made Nike history and became the very first athlete with Cerebral Palsy to sign a contract with Nike! You don’t realize how realistic and emotional your dreams are until they play out before your very eyes! Signing this contract was a huge success for me and I would not have made it without my friends and family and teammates! This was perhaps the most emotional moment in my seven years of running! Growing up with a disability, the thought of becoming a professional athlete is as I have said before like the thought of climbing Mt. Everest! It is definitely possible, but the odds are most definitely not in your favor! Hard work pays off! Hundreds of miles, blood, sweat, and tears has lead me here along with a few permanent scars! But the journey is damn sure not over!!! Looking back, I would guess there is only a few select people who would see me were I am today! I have gone through just about everything in the book to be where I am today! I was once a kid in leg braces who could barely put on foot in front of the other! Now I have signed a three year contract with Nike Running! Trust the process! And most of all trust in God! God is good! Thank you to all my friends, family, and teammates on running club, and now a brand new atmosphere on teammates with Nike! This moment will live forever! Thank you everyone for helping show the world that there is No Such Thing As A Disability! #ProfessionalAthlete #SWOOSH #Nike72 #NikeTrackandField #NikeXC #ThereIsNoFinishLine #StrongerEveryMile #NoSuchThingAsADisability #NikeRunning #Limitless #Breaking2 Video Credits: @elevation0m

A post shared by Justin “Magic” Gallegos (@zoommagic) on Oct 6, 2018 at 5:33pm PDT

Gallegos worked with Nike on its Breaking2 campaign, which helps athletes break the two-hour barrier for marathons and chronicled his journey in distance running. In April he ran in his first half-marathon and finished in a time of 2:03:49, just narrowly missing his goal of two hours.

The Oregon-based company also worked with Gallegos on the Pegasus 35 FlyEase, a running shoe that features a zipper-and-strap system to help runners with disabilities.

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